is that of the user the best paradigm to understand online activity at large?

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what other paradigms of online activity are there? do human agents behave more as admins or moderators than users?

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to be clear: the admin is technically another type of user, but you get what i mean

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wikipedia: "Users of computer systems and software products generally lack the technical expertise required to fully understand how they work."

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Let's put it like this, using a thought experiment. The offline world suddenly disappears: no cities, no buildings, no bodies, no objects. Human agents are only able to interact through and within current digital interfaces. How human activity would differ? How our understanding of current online activities would differ?

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is world-building, understood as building a durable interface with the totality of the real, still possible online?

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again, following Arendt, one could say that a website is a work/object, while a platform is a machine

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While acting for her means breaking the "fateful automation of sheer happening". Sounds familiar?

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Reminded now that in his reflections on the "automatic society" Stiegler describes a shift from the everyday life to the administered life. Might be the 'Vita Administrativa' (both administering and being administering) the crucial sphere of activity missing in Arendt's model of human practical capacities?

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if I were to point out a fundamental paradigm shift of user behavior in terms of interaction with an interface, due to the advent of the corporate web, I'd say that the user was reconfigured as a scroller, and therefore as passive consumer because the interaction is purely mechanical and only accidentally performed manually.

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the paradox seems to be that web 2.0 which was supposed to bring MORE interactivity, eventually reduced it

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ok, I put some of these notes quickly together on the blog. Main idea: proletarisation of user interaction. Comments welcome! networkcultures.org/entrepreca

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apropos, Simondon argues that the machine replaces the tool-equipped individual (the worker)

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i guess the fundamental question is: can we really consider the web a metamedium?

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forgot about Striphas notion of "controlled consumption", which is quite related to the user condition I'd say (source is my thesis)

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and now I'm in the rabbit hole of understanding the evolution of AJAX and XMLHttpRequest. Is it true that the "killer app" for the technology was Gmail?

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ok, so here's my tentative chronology of XMLHttpRequest/ AJAX:

2000: Microsoft comes up with XMLHttpRequest (the cornerstone of AJAX) and implements it in Outlook Mail: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XMLHttpR

2002: Oddpost.com uses JavaScript to mimic a desktop mail application, using AJAX methodologies: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oddpost

2004: Google borrows several ideas from Oddpost to create Gmail: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oddpost

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Apparently at the time there was some discomfort with the idea of turning webpages into apps. Where can I find more about this?

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this might have been the historical bifurcation moment: "There were two implementations [of Outlook Web Access] that got started, one based on serving up straight web pages as efficiently as possible with straight HTML, and another one that started playing with the cool user interface you could build with DHTML." web.archive.org/web/2007062312

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Paul Graham in 2005: "Near my house there is a car with a bumper sticker that reads "death before inconvenience." Most people, most of the time, will take whatever choice requires least work. If Web-based software wins, it will be because it's more convenient. And it looks as if it will be, for users and developers both." paulgraham.com/road.html

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atm "The User Condition" magnum opus (which obviously will never see the light) has the following chapters:

- User/Agent
- Multidimensional Agencies
- Hyperlinearity
- Interface Proletarization
- Vita Administrativa

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subchapter title: Infinite Scroll and the Paginated Mind

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ok, I tried to put together a tentative chronology of this idea of Interface Industrialization, connecting the emergence of web apps, the invention of the infinite scroll, the appearance of syndication and aggregation, the introduction of smartphones and thus the swipe gesture. Spoiler: it ends with a US Senator wanting to ban infinite scroll
networkcultures.org/entrepreca

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gesture producing a single meaningful action, i.e. *being* the action (fully manual) : Angry Birds

VS

gesture modulating an external autonomous flow (full automation): Flappy Bird

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Convenience, seamlessness and straightforwardness are other names the backgrounding of low-level agencies.

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action != behavior

action = disruption of behavior

behavior = absence of action

greeting someone with "howdy" = behavior

greeting someone with "the end is near" = action

agency = the capacity to disrupt behavior

p.s. action movies should be called behavior movies

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<<Nguyen [creator of Flappy Bird] wanted to make games for people like himself: busy, harried, always on the move. “I pictured how people play,” he says, as he taps his iPhone and reaches his other hand in the air. “One hand holding the train strap.” He’d make a game for them.>> rollingstone.com/culture/cultu

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"There is no variation or evolution in gameplay throughout the game, as the pipes always have the same gap between them and there is no end to the running track, having only the flap and ding sounds and the rising score as rewards." again Flappy Bird

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"We could have games for anything. Games for attending classes, co-working, and making art. Games for work. Games for just hanging out. We're going to make these kinds of games. But at this point, it's time we stop thinking about them as games and start considering them part of a broader field: spatial interfaces." darkblueheaven.com/spatialinte

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"The accumulation of gadgets hides these meanings Those who use these devices do not understand them; those who invent them do not understand much else. That is why we may *not*, without great ambiguity, use technological abundance as the index of human quality and cultural progress." Wright Mills (1959)

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interface proletarization: disappearance of navigation, the user doesn't go anywhere, things come to them

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a good interface: one that, despite its complexity, you can understand so well that you can forget about it

· · Web · 1 · 0 · 3

"I realized that we can't have a single good term to describe what we do with digital media for a reason.

In the 1960s-1970s digital media pioneers like Alan Kay systematically simulated most existing mediums in a computer. Computers, and various computing devices which followed (such as "smart" phones)came to support reading, viewing, participating, playing, remixing, collaborating.. and also many new functions.

This is why 20th century term s- reader, viewer, participant, publisher, player, user - all apply."

Lev Manovich in 2011

lab.softwarestudies.com/2011/0

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if agency is the ability to interrupt automatized behavior, then rewiring the computer means acquiring agency in a computer system

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"From the perspective of system developers, a utilitarian morality governs technology use. The good user is one who adopts the systems we design and uses them as we envisioned (Redmiles et al., 2005). Similarly, the bad or problematic user is the one who does not embrace the system or device. This creates a moral problem, a stain to be eradicated." ics.uci.edu/~djp3/classes/2012

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in other words, user proletarianization is a form of functional integration

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angry birds (action) vs flappy bird (behavior) for now in Italian, but soon to be translated and expanded

not.neroeditions.com/interfacc

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the most "active" user of an hegemonic technology is the one who decides not to use it

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"Hence one has to ask what happens existentially when I press a key. What happens when I press a typewriter key, a piano key, a button on a television set or on a telephone. What happens when the President of the United States presses the red button or the photographer the camera button. I choose a key, I decide on a key. I decide on a particular letter of the alphabet in the case of a typewriter, on a particular note in the case of a piano, on a particular channel in the case of a television set, or on a particular telephone number. The President decides on a war, the photographer on a picture. Fingertips are organs of choice, of decision." Flusser

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"At root, [World of Warcraft] is not simply a fantasy landscape of dragons and epic weapons but a factory floor, an information-age sweatshop. custom tailored in every detail for cooperative ludic labor" Galloway, The Interface Effect, 44

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the most representative experience of being a user of a network computer nowadays is the mobile phone:
1) on average, more time is spent there than on laptop or desktop
2) most websites became fundamentally mobile-first in their design, or even mobile-only (think of Instagram)

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"[…] software relies on the assumption that there is something like a programmer and something like a user. This also presents a special set of problems, the most important of which is the status of the actor versus the acted-upon, and under which circumstances which is which" Galloway, The Interface Effect

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two ways to determine behavior and reduce agency:

1. calculate all the possible variables

2. reduce the variables to the minimum

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agency as the extent of deautomatization available

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@entreprecariat how about those that do detouring, hacking, reverse engineering etc?

@rra @entreprecariat Possibly, or perhaps sometimes those tactics are slightly less insidious versions of the same or are trying to position the hacker closer to the top of the pyramid. Refusal is still more radical, no?

@KnowPresent @rra yeah, let me say that mine is not a value judgment. I'm just saying that if we understand action as rupture of behavior, non-use is more "active" that counter-use. A monk being more active than a politician :)

@rra @KnowPresent definitely. i'm collecting all the papers which quote the non use one!

@entreprecariat I get really upset sometimes when I feel like we are heading towards a society that will require all citizens to enter into a complex contractual relationship with one of two giant california companies.

If you want to do a lot of simple things these days, you are expected to have an intense intimate relationship with Google or Apple. Otherwise you can't participate.

@KnowPresent I feel you and I also wonder whether in the "mobile first world" wuser are losing agency as interface affordances are drastically reduced. E.g. organizing windows

@entreprecariat If you're not a Steve Jobs fan-victim then you have to be the unabomber. There's no negotiation or anything in between that is offered as a possibility.

@entreprecariat I'm being melodramatic but I feel this is getting worse, where the people who make decisions about these things cannot imagine anyone not using a google or apple product for any interaction.

@entreprecariat @eel are you an "active" enough user of a hegemonic technology to log into facebook every day but then only use it in ways that undermine facebook, convince other users to leave, fuck up their analytics etc

@entreprecariat I don't like the word, not only because I am allergic to Marxism (having lived in the paradise delivered) but also because word's origin is coming back to people who only own their children. Maybe the Vatican Latin dictionary has some root words for people who only own a smartphone?

@saper yeah, the term is heavy. I borrow this specific understanding from Bernard Stiegler. I'm also pondering if bringing Marxism to the table is necessary or not (alienation/estrangement are useful concepts). A simple way to solve it, is to turn the focus to the means and speak therefore of "interface industrialization"

@entreprecariat Ok, thank you. The comparison is so appealing that I wonder what pitfalls are hidden there... it's inspiring

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